This week I'm trading questions with Brian from UNC blog Tar Heel Fan. My Rutgers-themed answers should be up there at some point.
On the Banks: What's your reaction to all of the off-field developments reported about UNC football over the past several months?
Tar Heel Fan: Frustration is the most common reaction, more so about the speed at which it is being handled rather than the issues themselves. Obviously there is disappointment that potential violations have been found and speaking for myself I have zero issue with cleaning this mess up and handing out the proper discipline. However, just do it already! I would rather just go on with the season with whatever team can take the field than to continue to twist in the wind.
On the Banks: Solely in terms of football, what is your assessment of Butch Davis as a coach?
Tar Heel Fan: The knock on Butch Davis is he can recruit and program build but the game day coaching is lacking. Four years into his tenure at UNC it is difficult to move away from that assessment. Most UNC fans have been pleased with the recruiting pipeline that has been built. There is also an unmistakable shift in the attitude of the program. An expansion project for Kenan Stadium is underway, UNC hosted a Thursday night game for the first time ever last season and playing LSU on Saturday night to open the season are all evidence of a program raising its profile. Unfortunately it has brought plenty of baggage so if Davis can survive, the program will continue to be viable. The biggest complaints fans have is we all expected the coaching staff to be better. The coordinators have disappointed and I think many of us thought Davis would bring more quality to those positions.
On the Banks: What actions, if any, should the University of North Carolina and its athletic department undertake with regard to the Tar Heel football team?
Tar Heel Fan: At this point they have done what they needed to do. The questionable players are sitting until the agent and academic issues are resolved. When we reach a point where actual findings are brought to light then we can get a clearer idea of any possible actions the school could take. Obviously much of that is predicated on what the NCAA ultimately does. At the same time you cannot help but notice a significant PR weight from cloud currently hanging over the program. How the program emerges from that is anyone's guess. That being said, the current expansion of Kenan Stadium means the school is committed to football. I don't see them imploding the program and settling for 6-6 every season with that large financial commitment hanging out there.
On the Banks: With so many starters missing on defense, how have the replacements fared up to this point?
Against LSU it was not so bad, especially seeing the Tigers operate with a short field most of the game due to the special teams snafus. Against Georgia Tech playing an offense that is very difficult to defend, the inexperience and step down in talent came to bear. Even the two star linebackers Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter played poorly, partly from attempting to do too much. As long as the defense is short handed it is expected they will struggle to some extent.
On the Banks: It's odd to think that it was only a couple months ago that quarterback T.J. Yates, and the rest of the offense were seen as the biggest question marks for the Heels this year. How has that side of the ball looked so far?
Tar Heel Fan: And another point of frustration. UNC was going to sport one of the best defenses in the country but the big obstacle was the offense. The offense was so poorly rated UNC was still picked fourth in the ACC Coastal Division despite what the defense was potentially going to look like. Now, through two games, the offense has been very good. T.J. Yates is making good decisions and being accurate with his passes. The receivers minus Greg Little were effective vs LSU though less so vs Georgia Tech. However the running game came around against the Yellow Jackets giving UNC fans hope the offense will be balanced and efficient as the season progresses.
Thanks again to Brian for his assistance with this.